It is intended to conserve, interpret and display the furnace site
for public access, and funding has been promised by Historic
England, South Downs National Park, Wealden Iron Research Group and
the two landowners.
The Repair Project, towards which we have been working for over 30 years, could take place over the summers of 2019 and 2020. Surprisingly it is the water, one reason why this site was chosen originally for a furnace, which has become the major enemy. The water controls for both sluices need to be completely replaced and the archaeology in the northern stream will be capped to prevent further erosion. At the southern end the eastern wall which is leaning at a 10 degree angle will be rebuilt to ensure that the dam which carries the public bridleway and contains the pond water is not compromised.
It is hoped that the previously excavated furnace would be revealed at a later date and a covered area provided for visiting groups as well as pathways for safe access between the two spillways for visitors. Nature walks could be created in the surrounding woodland and existing ancillary buildings further investigated. Interpretation of the site, explaining the history and technical aspects of the industry would be located at appropriate positions.
Update - Investigation works carried out in June 2019
A programme of investigation works has taken place to provide the conservation team with vital information about the archaeology and structure of this threatened Scheduled Ancient Monument. North Park Furnace (Fernhurst Furnace) dates from the middle of the 16th century, it closed in 1776 and is one of the best surviving charcoal blast furnaces from the Wealden Iron Industry.
This work is in preparation for an urgent repair project to stabilise the dam to protect the archaeology and prevent the risk of flooding downstream.
Applications for Historic England funding to support this project have been very successful. The works are planned to take place from late 2019 and through 2020.
To find out more come to Open Weekend at Fernhurst Furnace on September 14th & 15th.